The NGC Universal ID is a four digit alphanumeric that groups coins based on a unique combination of date, mintmark, denomination and striking process (MS, PF, or SP). These IDs are a simple organization of all coins prior to variety attribution and grading.
Since this issue is readily available in lower Mint State grades, it seems likely that the Philadelphia Mint stored the vast majority of 1881 silver dollars at the time of delivery. Mint employees undoubtedly moved these bags at various times while taking inventory, with the result that most Mint State 1881 dollars on today's market are moderately to heavily abraded.
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.
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